Jim Sterling Unveils Youtube Copyright Protection Program


Ever since leaving The Escapist to take The Jimquisition on the road, solo, Jim “F—ing” Sterling has had a tumultuous time with the subjects he dares to criticize. Chief among them is Digital Homicide, creators of such “indie darlings” as The Slaughtering Grounds, Tempter Tantrum and Galactic Hitman. The reason most people haven’t heard of them is because, as a best possible description for if they were a physical entity, these games are garbage clowns. Unfortunately, Digital Homicide has shown to take advantage of Youtube’s copyright takedown procedures in an attempt to silent Jim’s and others’ criticisms.

Until now.

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A special Thursday edition of The Jimquisition, as seen above, unveils what has been called the YouTube Fair Use Protection Program. In it, Youtube will help protect Jim Sterling and four other channels (at the moment) from nefarious, underhanded and aggressive false copyright claims from Youtubers who focus mostly on criticism content. The Jimquisition has videos that have been deemed as excellent examples of Fair Use in the eyes of Youtube, who will be protecting said videos for the foreseeable future of his contract.

How it works is that content creators, who try to take down Youtube videos by claiming the channel in question has used their copyright materials in an unfair way, will not have their videos taken down the old fashioned way. Instead, the only way to request a takedown from these specific channels (only Jim Sterling has made himself publicly known to be in the program, as of press time) is to bring the issue to court. Youtube will provide backing there, as well, with up to $1 million in defense of excellent examples of Fair Use.

Apparently, it is part of Youtube’s ongoing efforts to tackle copyright trolls, much of which has been happening behind the scenes this year. Sterling mentions the defense of BunnyHop’s journalistic inquiries into Kojima’s sudden “extended vacation” from Konami, in which Konami requested the video’s takedown in order to hide a possible truth. Now it seems like they’re willing to be a bit more forward with their long-overdue defense of honest content creators.

Here is what Youtube had to say, posted on Google’s Public Policy blog:

"We are offering legal support to a handful of videos that we believe represent clear fair uses which have been subject to DMCA takedowns. With approval of the video creators, we’ll keep the videos live on YouTube in the U.S., feature them in the YouTube Copyright Center as strong examples of fair use, and cover the cost of any copyright lawsuits brought against them.We’re doing this because we recognize that creators can be intimidated by the DMCA’s counter notification process, and the potential for litigation that comes with it (for more background on the DMCA and copyright law see check out this Copyright Basics video). In addition to protecting the individual creator, this program could, over time, create a “demo reel” that will help the YouTube community and copyright owners alike better understand what fair use looks like online and develop best practices as a community."

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This Youtube Fair Use Protection Program does come with some caveats, unfortunately. Chief among them is the fact that videos attempted to be taken down will be removed from viewing outside the US. It makes sense, as Youtube would want to fight the creators of “garbage clown” games in a country where Fair Use is understood in its best, legal way. Still, it seems to work as just a half-measure right now, along with the fact that so few creators are protected by Youtube at its launch.

With such a prominent figure in gaming criticism on Youtube acting as the public face of the program, however, it gives Youtube and future creators who partner with the program a more united front against professional online trolls. Unfortunately, we won’t know the strength of the program until we see the legal backing of Youtube in action.